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Neck width measurements-What's yours?!

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Chef, Sep 7, 2004.

  1. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    I've heard Engelhardts are thinner in the neck than other basses.
    My King is about 1.5" deep at the nut, and about 1 5/8 (a little less than 1 3/4) wide at the nut.

    {Edit: I had my digital calipers right there when I measured with the ruler. New numbers:
    Width: 1.66
    Depth: still a little tricky with strings on, but roughly 1.6
    So, about as wide as it is deep. Pretty comfortable to me...}

    I guess they all get deeper and wider going up the neck to one degree or another...
    I'm curious as to what other DB's measure, as Bob Gollihur told me on the phone just now that they're all so close to the same that blindfolded you'd never know the difference, "and guys that are cramping on the thinner Swingmaster neck aren't using proper lefthand technique anyway." (sorry if that isn't as direct a quote as it could be Bob).
    So, if you have your DB and a ruler handy, I'd like to see what the range of differences really is, especially on Shens, Chrissies and the "skinny old Swingmaster."...Please measure yours and post up, especially if you have a swingmaster...
  2. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    I happen to have a digital caliper sitting here on the desk, right next to the old bass-a-roo.

    Width at nut: 1.665"
    Depth at nut: 1.718" (approximate, as I'm sure you can appreciate)

    It's a Christopher hybrid.
  3. John Sprague

    John Sprague Sam Shen's US Distributor

    Mar 10, 2003
    Rochester, NY
    Sales Manager, CSC Products Inc.
    I was standing close to a Shen SB80, which would be roughly the same as the 100, 150, and 180's. They're all on the same outline.
    Depth at the nut (before the curve of the scroll starts): 1 9/16"
    Width at the nut: 1 21/32".
    Depth at heel: 1 31/32"
    Width at heel: 2 9/32.
    *your results may vary per bass as it's all hand hade wood stuff.
  4. Lidl Czech plywood 50-1

    width at nut: 1 11/16 inches (somewhat wide)
    least depth (about 1/2 step above nut): 1.5 inches
    width at heel: 2 3/4 in.
    depth before heel: 1 3/4 in.

    Note: you can eliminate most of the half position discomfort by deepening the nut slots with a round needle file. The slot spacing makes a little difference and tends to vary also.
  5. azflyman


    Apr 24, 2004
    Astoria, OR
    Upton UB Jazz

    Width at nut 1.700 inches

    Depth approx 2" from nut 1.650 inches

    What's with all you and your dial calipers? I was just going to use a tape measure but had to whip out my Mitutoyo's. ;)

  6. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    Anyone got a swingmaster they can measure please?
  7. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    Cal from Engelhardt just forwarded this info:
    "Depth of neck near nut----1.53"
    Depth of neck near heel---1.68"
    Width of neck at nut------1.66"
    These are approximate, necks will vary a little."

    Anyone in Kansas City got a Swingmaster I can lay hands on for a few minutes? These specs seem so simliar to my King I can't imagine why everyone says Engel necks feel so much different...
  8. Chef,
    Some of that is probably superstition like Bob Gollihur suggested, however, there is more to the feel than just the depth and width. I probably am playing the worst "feeling" neck in the bunch even though it has pretty slim measurements. It is not properly rounded across the back, IMO. It seems to be almost pointed in the middle with two rounded sides. This shape is so pronounced that when I first started on it, I had a big dent in the tip of my left thumb! I've played other basses that had a more rounded neck and fingerboard and even though they were wider, they played more comfortably for my hand. My preference is the type that the neck and fingerboard together almost form an ovoid dowel at the nut end. It rolls easily when you cross strings close to the nut, but really this is just a personal preference. Keep a watch out for traveling bands in your town and chances are someone will have a Swingmaster you can put a hand on. I played on some old Kays and liked them, but none were Swingmasters and I've not played a King.
    My impression is that those King's are pretty cool ply basses for the money. A rockabilly band I saw leading off for ZZ-TOP was using one (Road King) and amped up it sounded pretty fat. It looked sharp, too. At one point, I think the bassist broke a string and switched to a Fender Jazz, and it was like half the bottom end disappeared!! Someone in a post a while back was asking what was the Fender P of DB's, and while they haven't been around that long (and at the risk of opening a controversy), I would say that the Road King could become that. The Swingmaster might be another good candidate. Better double basses with carved tables, ebony tailpieces, and the like are more like the Gretsches, Rickenbackers, Alembics, Modulus, and custom products like the Ken Smith bass guitars. ;)